Finding Immortality
Gilgamesh and Ti Ti

I got up early in the morning on Wednesday, January 20th. That day is important to me for a handful of reasons. America finally got rid of Donald the Dumb, our fake president. President Biden was sworn in as a real president. Another obviously important reason is that it is my birthday. I am now 22 years away from reaching 100. Once I become a centenarian, I need to get to at least March 10, 2043. That will mean that my lifelong goal of outliving George Burns will have been accomplished.

George Burns

That morning was bitterly cold outside as Ginger and I got ready to circumnavigate the lake on which we live. She knows our routine. I give her breakfast topped off with her meds to address her inflammatory bowel disorder. She impatiently waits for me to have my breakfast, a grapefruit. I then put on my anorak. Additionally, I added a ski mask to my ensemble and then we were off. Ginger loves our daily walks especially on days like the 20th. It was 15 degrees outside that morning. The colder it is on our walk, the happier she is.

That hour-long jaunt is our time together. However, most of the time is spent with her smelling everything and me thinking about everything. As we passed the dam, I was thinking about an appointment that I had before noon. I will be getting my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccination. Being old as the hills does have its advantages like getting a vaccine earlier than teenagers. My shot won’t guarantee that I won’t get the coronavirus. However, I’d bet on the vaccine being more beneficial than not having the two shots.

Precisely a year ago to the day, January 20, 2020, the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was confirmed in America. On January 20, 2021, we had over 405,000 deaths and nearly 25 million confirmed cases. Our former and fake president reassured us that COVID-19 will disappear in the spring. Well, it didn’t, but he has disappeared from the White House. I don’t know why that link didn’t go to just the single video. When I copied it, it was just to the video. So, tweak that link to go just to the video. Maybe, Trump is after me.

As Ginger and I walked around the lake, my mind floated around like a hummingbird in a field of flowers. I thought about Gilgamesh and his quest for immortality. I thought about my two dances with death. I was lucky to have successfully led death on the dancefloor of my life. My dances taught me to appreciate life and enjoy the moment. Those two dances were initially curses, which became blessings.

Ginger and I reached the undeveloped part of the subdivision. I took off her leash and let her run. She enjoys running free. Actually, she runs twice the distance without her leash. Ginger will run ahead a couple hundred yards and return to me as if she was a canine version of Jesse Owens. When I praise her, she will repeat her hundred-yard dashes several more times just to impress me.

Perhaps, removing her leash frees me to think. I started to think about my family in Myanmar. Three years ago, I told Ko Ko and Moh Moh, the parents of my three grandchildren, that I wanted to take my granddaughters on a shopping spree. Off we went to a large department store in Taunggyi called Ocean Supercenter. The deal was simple. I wanted to enjoy shopping with the three of them. Their parent went off for an hour or so as Ti Ti, Snow, Fatty, and I went shopping.

Before we began, I told the two younger girls that they were to get some toy and some clothing item. Ti Ti was the oldest and wasn’t into toys. The two youngest girls accomplished the assignment in less than fifteen minutes. They and I were happy. Then I said to Ti Ti that she needed to pick out some clothing item. Ti Ti would have nothing to do with shopping for clothes.

Initially, she said that she didn’t need any clothes. Now, I love my family and see my granddaughters as the crème de crème. However, there I was pleading my case to Ti Ti. I begged her. Looking back upon our disagreement, it seemed like we were arguing about the issue for several hours. In reality, it probably was fifteen minutes. Finally, she was willing to compromise. I was to pick out clothes for her…a teenager. What? Some old grandfather picking clothes for a teenager made absolutely no sense.

Again, I implored Ti Ti. I explained that I have never gone shopping for clothes for my daughters or granddaughter in the States. Finally, she explained why she insisted upon me picking out something. She wanted something that I chose. In that way, she could remember me. Initially, I blew off her comment. Then Moh Moh saw us discussing our problem and resolved it for Ti Ti and me.

This is the outfit that Ti Ti finally picked with Moh Moh’s help.

Finally, we finished our shopping spree and down the escalator to wait for Ko Ko to return to the store. As we waited, it dawned on me what Ti Ti said about remembering me. I told the girls and Moh Moh that I forget something that I wanted to get for myself. I ran up the escalator to a shop that had scarves. I had noticed that Ti Ti was looking at a display of hundreds of them. So, I picked out my favorite scarf. It was blue and gold, which are my favorite colors. They are mixed with white, which is the color of my hair. Now, Ti Ti will remember me when she wears her scarf.

I have mentioned how brilliant Ti Ti is academically. It was apparent when we first met on my first trip to Myanmar. At the time, she was nine years old. I don’t know whether she has ever read The Epic of Gilgamesh Regardless, she thoroughly grasped Gilgamesh’s realization that immortality would evade him. Nonetheless, he also understood that his immortality would occur when people remember him after he died.

Several days ago, I emailed Moh Moh that I was going to write about the immortality issue. This is part of my email.

Do you have any idea how much being remembered by Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty means to me? Twenty years from now, they will have families and tell their children about PaPa Al. They will tell their children that I loved them and saw their great potential. Moh Moh, my family is the single most important thing in my life. I have benefitted so much from them. It is like seeing the next generation emerge and develop in front of me.

Gilgamesh was correct several thousand years ago. Immortality occurs when the next generation remembers. I want Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty to remember that I truly loved them. That is vastly more important to me than my bragging about outliving George Burns.

Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty, I will return hopefully next year during winter break from teaching. In the meantime, remember that I love you.